New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie accepted the Citizen of The Year Award Tuesday from the Children’s Scholarship Fund of Philadelphia.
The award comes days after Christie’s pilot voucher program — the Opportunity Scholarship Act — was dropped from the state budget bill.
Christie said it was strange to receive such an award on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River. But, he said, New Jersey schools and Philadelphia schools are fighting similar battles.
“In New Jersey, we’re working hard, just as I know folks are here, to improve the public schools. And it is, at times, an extraordinary challenge,” he said. “Because you have to challenge a status quo that wants to maintain a system that serves their interests, often, ahead of the children’s interests.”
Last week, the Democrats who control the New Jersey Legislature negotiated with Christie’s administration to cut the Opportunity Scholarship Act out of the budget bill. It would have used $2 million in tax breaks to generate scholarships for students in low-performing schools. Students were eligible for up to $10,000 for tuition at private or religious schools.
The proposal for this kind of school choice legislation has been kicking around the New Jersey Legislature for years. Despite some influential supporters, it has failed to become law.